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China’s battery business still bearing fruit despite Apple’s gloom

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

Apple has blamed China’s economic slowdown almost entirely for the tech firm’s gloomy sales forecast— but there’s no sign of Chinese firms running out of power to stay ahead in the batteries game.

As BEST Battery Briefing (BBB) reports this week, Shanghai-based Envision— fresh from snapping up Nissan’s lithium-ion business— has secured investment to expand. And, separately, CATL and Geely are behind yet another Chinese batteries joint venture.

Meanwhile, Toshiba intends to spin off its SCiB unit to grab a slice of the action.

It seems Asia’s battery tigers are already on the prowl for spoils with the new year barely aired…

If you're visiting this site and are not already a BBB recipient, you should be if you want the full story on batteries. Each edition of this weekly e-newsletter is supercharged with 'real news', insight and solid journalism. Sign up FREE here.

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Investments energise batteries for 2019

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

As the year draws to a close, there’s no let up in battery activity, as our raft of investment-related stories reported this week show.

What will 2019 hold for our industry? The only way to stay on top of global developments is to keep reading BEST Battery Briefing— and forward the newsletter to to colleagues who might be missing out.

In our upcoming special Christmas edition, we take a look at the top 10 BBB stories that got the industry talking over the past year.

Make sure you've also subscribed to BEST magazine— the world's leading publication on battery manufacture and design and the emerging field of large-scale electrical energy storage. The Winter 2019 issue is out next month.

And to see your dog in a future edition of BBB, please click here to send a picture and bio.

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Battery honours even between Europe and Asia

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

It's quid pro quo between Europe and Asia this week, as BMW and Dräxlmaier announced plans to establish local battery production for electric vehicles in Thailand, whilst LG Chem are reportedly set to establish a second lithium-ion plant in Poland, in order to keep pace with ever-rising demand.

Meanwhile in Africa, BMW, Samsung, and BASF are collaborating on a joint “artisanal” cobalt mining project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Elsewhere, BMZ has selected a new larger location in Virginia Beach for its US headquarters, and the European Association for Storage of Energy has unveiled its Storage4EU initiative to showcase some of the most innovative energy storage projects.

If you find BEST Battery Briefing’s in-depth coverage of the industry useful, why not forward the newsletter to a friend.

This week’s featured pooch is Otis from Buckinghamshire. To see your dog in BBB, click here to send a pic and bio.

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Splashing the cash in power plays for batteries

Mon, 11/19/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

After months of guessing who might be an eligible suitor for JCI’s battery business, the wait is over. The sale of Power Solutions to investment firms seems an unlikely partnership. But a US$13 billion ‘dowry’ is not a bad start to building a relationship.

Meanwhile, Germany is also splashing the cash, as we report in our top story, to put it in the driving seat of future European battery cells production. So much for the EU’s ‘united’ Batteries Alliance— but credit to Berlin for putting its money where its mouth is. 

It seems Mrs Merkel has dodged EU state-aid restrictions to invest in batteries— a power play we reported was under way weeks ago. 

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Study reveals true value of 'climate-friendly' lead

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

It’s taken a (presumably) very expensive study to tell the EU what most of us already know, as we report in the latest edition of our weekly e-newsletter, BEST Battery Briefing

The current Batteries Directive is not fit for purpose and Europe’s dream of building a lithium-battery industry to rival Asia will be flawed, unless someone gets a grip on recycling.

But whatever the cost, this independent report is worth its weight in gold for hammering home to sceptical EU policymakers the valuable contribution of lead-acid— not just to an existing “multi-billion euro” batteries industry but also to combating climate change.

Policymakers would do well to learn from our quarterly Batteries & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) magazine— which takes an in-depth look at the critical sector of recycling in the current issue. Click here to read more.

If you’ve not subscribed to BEST, which is available in print and in digital formats, you’re missing out. Give yourself an early festive gift and get it today!

And remember, to keep up with the global battery industry news that matters every week, sign up FREE for BEST Battery Briefing.

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Enersys wraps up mega deal, Trojan unpacks lithium surprise

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

Enersys has invested in an expensive gift with its acquisition of Alpha Technologies, as we report in the latest issue of BEST Battery Briefing...

But the deal shows there is plenty of life in batteries— as is always the case with lead-acid. Securing its grip on the power solutions market— and positioning Enersys’ products as the de facto technology of choice for the lucrative telecoms sector— is a smart move. 

Trojan’s incursion behind lithium lines, following Exide’s example in the US earlier, is another smart move to broaden the business base for lead-battery firms, as we also report.

Meanwhile, China and South Korea continue to cosy up to each other, at least in the batteries business, to take on the rest of the world.

If you're not already signed up to receive the weekly BEST Battery Briefing newsletter, giving you FREE access to our articles in full, click here.

And if you’ve not subscribed to our quarterly Batteries & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) magazine, available in print and in digital formats, you’re missing out. Give yourself an early festive gift and get it today!

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EU energy chief’s about-face on lead?

Mon, 10/29/2018 - 11:26 -- John Shepherd

At last, after months of lobbying, has the EU’s energy chief seen the light and is he now willing to level the playing field for lead-acid and lithium? 

Maroš Šefčovič, cornered by BEST Battery Briefing in Brussels last week, signalled the EU could be about to take a softer line on lead, as we report in our top story.

If Šefčovič is “not unfriendly” to lead, as he claimed, it begs the question: Who has been pushing the anti-lead agenda to date? 

So is there now an open-door invitation for lead to play its rightful role in Europe’s future energy mix? Actions will speak louder than words…

If you're not already a BBB subscriber, you should be if you want the full story on batteries. Each edition of this weekly e-newsletter is supercharged with 'real news', insight and solid journalism. Sign up FREE here.

And make sure you've also subscribed to Batteries & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) magazine— the autumn issue is out now and includes an in-depth and compelling special feature section on the issues and challenges involved in battery recycling. Don't miss it. Click here to subscribe now.

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More cash to keep 'lithium dream' afloat as lead is left to tread water

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

It’s been a year this week since the EU launched its Batteries Alliance to challenge Asia’s dominance of the European lithium battery market. But after months of talking and little concrete action— other than conspiring to kill off lead-acid— the EU’s energy chief now wants to splash more taxpayers’ cash to 'make' things happen. Nothing of course to do with his bid to take over as European Commission president.

Meanwhile, as reported in the latest edition of BEST Battery Briefing (BBB), it’s encouraging to see the wind at the backs of ABC in their deal with Fengfan. Breaking into the Chinese market is a challenge for any industry, let alone batteries. What’s more, the deal involves advanced lead technology. Take note, Brussels!

If you're not already a BBB subscriber, you should be if you want the full story on batteries. Each edition of this weekly e-newsletter is supercharged with 'real news', insight and solid journalism. Sign up FREE here.

And make sure you've also subscribed to Batteries & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) magazine— the autumn issue is out now and includes an in-depth and compelling special feature section on the issues and challenges involved in battery recycling. Don't miss it. Click here to subscribe now.

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Battery diamond's Indian summer?

Mon, 10/08/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

What’s going on at JCI? Speculation has been rife for several months that the firm’s batteries business, Power Solutions, could be coming up for sale.

The silence is tantalising. But whatever is going on behind the scenes, this battery diamond is adding to its lustre for a potential suitor by strengthening its presence in the Indian market— with longstanding lead-acid partner Amara Raja.

Meanwhile, Angela Merkel has admitted to being “sad” about Europe’s lack of cell production. But Mutti (as she is known in Germany) holds the key to the EU’s financial cookie jar. So better wipe away the tears and back the ILA’s campaign on lead— otherwise she’ll be joining thousands of others confined to the battery industry scrapheap.

If you're visiting this site and are not already a BEST Battery Briefing subscriber, you should be if you want the full story on batteries. Each edition of this weekly e-newsletter is supercharged with 'real news', insight and solid journalism. Sign up FREE here.

And make sure you've also subscribed to Batteries & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) magazine— the world's leading publication on battery manufacture and design and the emerging field of large-scale electrical energy storage. Our autumn edition is out now.

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Saft's train of thought turns to India

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 09:27 -- John Shepherd

It’s been two years since Total gobbled up Saft in a friendly takeover— amid concern that advances in battery technology might become lost in the oil giant’s fossil fuels portfolio. But judging from recent events not a bit of it.

Saft India has now emerged out of a joint venture, pledging to expand investment in keeping up with the heady pace of all things batteries in the Indian market— particularly in the rail and telecoms sectors.
 
This comes on the back of Saft clinching a five-year deal to supply batteries to a Chinese train builder — and launching an ambitious R&D push for advanced lithium-ion and solid-state with partners in Europe.
 
It makes a change to see the battery trade traffic heading into Asia. Vive la différence!

If you're visiting this site and are not already a BEST Battery Briefing subscriber, you should be if you want the full story on batteries. Each edition of this weekly e-newsletter is supercharged with 'real news', insight and solid journalism. Sign up FREE here.

And make sure you've also subscribed to Batteries & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Magazine— the world's leading publication on battery manufacture and design and the emerging field of large-scale electrical energy storage. Our autumn edition will be out soon.

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